A few days ago, the following disturbing article was posted by Judith H. Dobryzinksi on her blogsite:
Ms. Dobryzinski states that she received this leaked list via reliable sources from inside the museum itself. There are, to my mind, two very interesting things about this.
The first of these things is that one could be reading an almost exact repeat of the Baghdad Museum looting, for the list of missing objects is precisely that, a list of missing objects, in other words, ancient art. We are not told, as Dr. Hawass himself told in the link referenced in my blog of yesterday, of missing texts. So we appear to be dealing with the looting of two very different sorts of things: objects of art, and texts, and in this, the pattern is all too eerily reminiscent of the Baghdad Museum looting. There too, we were told incessantly about the theft (and recovery) of objects of art, and next to nothing about the possible theft (and possible recovery) of cuneiform tablets.
In this, the reporting of the Egyptian lootings is somewhat different, for we have Hawass himself to thank for apprising us that at least some of the stolen objects were "inscribed blocks," i.e., texts.
The article also suggests that Hawass and the American University of Cairo were somehow implicated in these thefts. That allegation has been echoed from within Egypt itself from numerous quarters, and Hawass' lack of popularity within the alternative community has not helped his cause in this regard.
But I must own to a great deal of difficulty with the view that he may have been involved in such looting personally. For one thing, it is hard to see what benefit the theft of such art objects could possibly be to someone of Hawass' fame and notoriety. It would be virtually impossible for him to "fence" any stolen items nor receive any financial reward for it. He has, in short, almost everything to lose from such an action, and almost nothing to gain. If he was involved, in other words, I can only conceive it to be either through some sort of hidden duress and coercion, or by dint of some sort of "frameup" of Dr. Hawass as the fall guy while others made away with the goods. On the latter view, someone would very much want Dr. Hawass out of any position of influence over Egypt's antiquities. Just who that might be and why is anyone's guess. But nonetheless, for me, the difficulties of Hawass' alleged involvement with the looting remain.
All this raises the question of why some, both inside of Egypt and the turmoil there, and far removed from them, would be so eager to try and tie Hawass to the looting. Though it is only an intuition and nothing more, I sense that there is much more going on here with the lootings, and the emerging pressure on Hawass, than meets the eye. This is not a story that will resolve itself quickly, and we should, with that in mind, not leap too hastily to try, and condemn, Hawass when the facts themselves are so threadbare, and when the facts themselves, with a little thought, would reveal the difficulty of tying him to the lootings. We need more evidence than we currently have.
All that said and done, I cannot dispel the feeling that there is much more going on here than meets the eye, and that deep agendas may possibly be in play.